News Leadership 3.0

June 16, 2008

Link: From hub to web

Will AP’s dispute with bloggers
boost local news Web traffic?

The Associated Press is facing criticism for its efforts to limit how much AP copy bloggers can quote. As The New York Times reports, the AP will “attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt without infringing on The A.P.‘s copyright.”
It’s a dispute that may not seem urgently relevant to local newsrooms, but Scott Karp at Publishing 2.0 has a provocative post about how AP’s efforts may benefit the local news organizations who provide copy to the AP. That’s because, Karp predicts, bloggers will simply go around the AP to the organizations that produce the material and link directly to them. That, in turn, could increase their site traffic. Karp gives this example:

“Take the story of flooding in Iowa, for example. The AP is covering this story extensively, as you can see in this Google News search result. But local news media in Iowa is also covering the story extensively, as you can see in this search limited to Iowa sources—the story is happening in their own backyard, giving these local sources a unique perspective and knowledge.

“So if a blogger wanted to discuss the Iowa floods and needed a source to cite, they can easily find an original local source instead of the AP story. And they can think of the link and the traffic they send as a contribution to the local news outlet’s original reporting, particularly the local newspapers struggling with new economic realities.

Meanwhile, Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine ups the ante: He proposes that the Associated Press “immediately begin linking to all its sources for stories, especially to members’ original journalism.”

It’s an interesting example of how the Web really is a network of connections that doesn’t need a hub. And that’s a challenge for news organizations that succeeded for so long as hubs.

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Exploring innovation, transformation and leadership in a new ecosystem of news, by journalist and change advocate Michele McLellan.

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